The Heart's Strength -- Book Two of The Briarcrest Chronicles

    The Heart's Strength was nominated for three 2008
    literary awards -- A Goldie, a Lammie and an Indie!
      Travel back in time once again to continue the story
         of Catherine and Lydia and some new friends.


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The women of Briarcrest continue to show their mettle as the story, set in the 
Renaissance, continues in The Heart’s Strength–Book Two of The Briarcrest 
Chronicles.  Lydia and Catherine have become the caretakers of Briarcrest, and 
when a letter arrives from Catherine’s old friend and former assistant, Sarah 
Pritchard, Catherine sets out on a journey that is both dangerous and embroiled
 in conflict.

When Catherine encounters an old friend in Willowglen, she forges a friend-
ship with his daughter, Fiona--a tall, blue-eyed, raven-haired beauty.  Fiona 
becomes an important ally when two churchmen from Spain set the town in 
turmoil claiming the authority of the Inquisition—with young Cate Pritchard 
at the center.  Catherine calls upon Fiona for assistance and the young 
woman proves to be a loyal friend when she agrees to help Catherine to 
clear Cate’s name.

From their first meeting, Cate and Fiona are drawn to one another; however, 
Fiona refuses to act on her feelings out of loyalty and the oath that she has 
given Catherine.  Cate, for her part, is uncertain about what to do with the 
new feelings she experiences for Fiona—and one of the priests has a deep, 
dark secret—and an ulterior motive for coming to Willowglen.

Finally, Lydia’s arrival in the town brings everything to a head and the 
women of Briarcrest, the Pritchards, and Fiona find themselves at the center 
of a terrible struggle—and each must each dig deeply to find strength of heart 
amid the battle against the injustices they encounter.  But will they all survive 
the ordeal?  Find out in Book Two—The Heart’s Strength.



Late Winter, 1481

The castle door opened with barely a touch, swinging noiselessly inward. 
Striding purposely the length of the Hall, he saw her near the hearth, 
dressed in splendor. Her auburn hair shone in the glow of the firelight. 
Her head was wreathed in flowers and ribbons. His heart beat faster as 
he approached, and she turned to him. Looking into her eyes, he felt 
taller, stronger…younger.

Soon, he would have her, touch her, take her to himself. He gazed into 
her striking gray-green eyes. A beautiful smile lit her face, sparking 
unaccustomed joy in his whole being. He broke into a run, closing 
the distance faster and faster, his only thought on his prize…her.

Almost within reach, he took a misstep, faltered, and plummeted out 
of control. He tumbled toward her, but he didn’t care. Her loving arms 
would gather him to her breast—her lovely breast—that would finally 
comfort him. He had wanted her for so long.

Time slowed as he fell toward her; he thrust his arms out. She opened 
hers to receive him, and his heart fluttered. Incongruously, just as he 
reached her, she took one quick step to the side. He careened headlong 
toward the fire, his efforts to gain control of his movements futile. 
Stumbling into the hearth, he was quickly engulfed by the flames. 
The heat burned his face, his hands, his leaden legs. He cried out 
an elongated “No!” and opened his eyes with a start.

Cold darkness surrounded him. His eyes stung with a fierce pain as 
he wiped the sweat from his face. His chest heaved, not from the joy 
and anticipation of finally possessing the woman, but from fear and 
agony over the fate to which he had succumbed in his night terror. 
Not the first time this vision had visited him in his sleep, the memory 
haunted him. He could not stop shivering. Wrapping his arms around 
his chest, he heaved a great shuddering sigh.

Ever since he had gotten word that she was alive, that she had not 
perished as he had thought, this vision came to him when sleep would 
not let go of him. Night after night, he avoided slumber because of the 
dream, but when he could no longer stay awake, he fell into the same 
trap. He would reach her in great anticipation and utter joy. She would 
finally embrace him. But each time, his hopes were dashed as the dream 
ended with him perishing in the fire.

He struggled to find some meaning to it. Was it a message? Punishment 
from the Almighty for him thinking of her now, desiring her again, after 
all these years? How could a God he no longer believed in inflict punish-
ment on him? He couldn’t help his fascination for the woman. It was her 
fault. If only she hadn’t been so willful all those years ago, perhaps they 
could have been together as he had desired. He would never have lost 
his temper and beaten her, leaving her for dead on the doorstep of St. 
Nicholas’ convent.

In the darkness of his priory cell, he clutched his torso to protect himself 
against the recurring image of the fire. He breathed in the cold, damp winter 
air. His tremors finally quieted, but his obsessive thoughts did not.

He had to have her, but how? He would think of a way, he must.



Furtado has done her homework.  She brings springtime in the early 
Renaissance period of England to life.  Her wonderful descriptions of 
the hustle and bustle of Willowglen…wake all of the reader's senses. 
She also shows how easily people can be swayed and controlled by 
those in power, and how quickly those who step outside the norm can 
be condemned.  Her characters are well drawn, likeable, and with motives 
that are understandable to 21rst. century women.  They also cross 
generational lines, making them interesting to readers in different age 

The Heart's Strength is an exciting read, and…definitely has some delightful 
love scenes, as well as some clanging of swords.  While it is the second book 
in the series, it stands alone on its own merit.

RLynn - Just About Write (Dec 2007) [non-rating site]


You never know how strong your heart [is] until faced with the greatest 
of tests....In her second book, The Heart's Strength, [Furtado] has shown 
her writing style to be captivating, weaving together a masterful tale fr[a]ught 
with danger, intrigue and romance.  

Joyce McNeil -
5.0 out of 5 starsAmazon.com (Nov 2007)

There is suspense, drama and a hair-raising rescue attempt at the end. The 
characters are appealing and draw the reader into their stories, making the 
reader want to know what happens to them.

Sage320 -
4.0 out of 5 starsAmazon.com (Nov 2007) and Just About Write (Dec 2007)

More reviews to come....please check back again later.


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